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post #21 of 161 Old 06-28-2013
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Re: Downside of living aboard

Originally Posted by Philzy3985 View Post
I wrote something really long about all the down falls of living aboard but it was mean and probably more personal.

Here's the breakdown:

Don't do it if it's a means of cheap shelter - you ruin it for everyone and you will hate it and it will maybe even kill you. It's not cheaper than renting an apartment, under any circumstances, for a long time. Sell your boat and buy a camper van, live in that because it will not sink or smell as bad.

Only do it if you are mechanically inclined, willing to forfeit your weekends to projects and resent the boat ownership sometimes. There are rewards, but the juice isn't always worth the squeeze. Do it if you ask yourself, "If money wasn't an object, would I live in a house, apartment, or boat" - If the answer is still, honestly, "Boat" then I guess go for it.

Be aware that while living in rented places you don't ever really own the problems.. you pay rent and a person or company is there fix things and keep them up. When you own a boat and live on it, every single thing you are conscious of using until it breaks will become something that haunts you, and the only thing limiting your ability to rid yourself of those worries is money and time - the two things everyone struggles most with.

I'm happy living aboard, 8 months now. I've been through the boat sinking itself and through sleepless, uncomfortable nights during storms, and being afraid of pulling something apart to fix it because, "If I don't finish this all in a day, I have nowhere to sleep tonight" - Well, get used to it. Fortunately there's only so much to do on a 30' sailboat to keep it comfortable and functional and something to be proud of. I couldn't imagine you guys with like 55' ketch sailboats living on a mooring. Crazy.

I guess if someone only read the first and last sentence because it's not what they are looking to hear:

Save yourself, and don't do it. If that's enough to convince you then you aren't cut out for it anyways.

But, to answer your point of " I couldn't imagine you guys with like 55' ketch sailboats living on a mooring. Crazy." IMHO it is WONDERFUL!

We lived part of last summer, from early August until mid October, moored in Boston Harbor. With 65,000 pounds of mass, she didn't bounce around nearly as much as my neighbors' moored day cruisers. We have a built in Onan Generator. We have our own washer & dryer, solar panels, water maker, etc., so we were still comfortable and self sufficient.

Again, the bigger the boat the better the liveaboard experience is.
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post #22 of 161 Old 06-28-2013
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Re: Downside of living aboard

Ha! I knew this would be a great thread.

Silvio - thanks for the kind words.

Captain, Doug, Tardis, Tim and Philzy: Great posts!!

I had one other thought as I just got back from walking the dock. Why in the world would ANYONE want to live on a sailboat that doesn't leave the dock?? For Gawd sakes, go get a houseboat for that. It will be just like living at a condo on the water, complete with fridge and stove and all that... go get one of those. Sailboats are the tightest of all boats. They are best suited for living aboard (a broad generalization) over many motor boats I see, with the exception of most trawlers. But in general, if you aren't going to leave the dock and want a home on the water, get a house boat.

Dear friend of ours raises her daughter on her house boat. It will never leave the dock. Doesn't have to. She got that boat from a bank auction (less than 10 years old) for like 6000 or 10000 and everything works. It is very spacious and comfortable. She bought her a little sailboat to take her daughter out sailing in. It is perfect!!

That makes more sense to me than buying some busted up old wreck with a mast to live aboard on, thinking you will fix all those problems. Sadly, that is what I see the most of... and here is what happens (just last week, three slips down):

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post #23 of 161 Old 06-28-2013
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Re: Downside of living aboard

Man. I say move aboard. When you get sleepy, lie down in the bunk and go to sleep. When you wake up, make some coffee in the galley, maybe fry up an egg, dunk some water on your self and get cleaned up, put on some clothes and go to work. When you have some free time, do some maintenance. Sail on your day's off and put some money aside for a cruising kitty. I've been doing that for over 20 years and I don't see what the big deal is. It's easier than takeing care of a house from what I've seen. Problem I see, is landlubbers try to live as if they were still on land in a house. You gotta commit to steping on to the boat. The dude that get's injured is the one that try's to keep one foot on the dock. Honestly, you either have the sea coursing through your veins or you don't. On the other hand, I don't see moving off the boat, after having tried, as a failure. How else could you know for sure if it was for you or not?

" Some are boat wise and some are other wise"

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post #24 of 161 Old 06-28-2013
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Re: Downside of living aboard

This is a great thread and very much appreciate the advise. After 40 years of sailing we are making the transition . This year working 2 weeks living in the house. One week living in the boat and learning/working on it. Next year or so hopefully living in the boat for 8-9m and in a smaller house ( once this one sells) during hurricane season. Then bug out and cruise full time but keep a small house for all the cr-p and family visits. Done the due diligence so can get by financially. Spent hours and hours tracking out, financial stuff, insurance, health care, estate/lawyer crap/ mail/ taxes on and on. Got the biggest boat we could afford ( figuring in maintenance and all the rest). Will be taking or retaking diesel course, safety at sea, maintenance course(s) and maybe sit the captain's license.
Think one of the reasons for failure is one day house and next day boat. People are shocked by the sudden transition and don't do their homework before fully spitting up the anchor. You don't get married after the first date.
still- had the boat a month and have 1000+miles on her. Stupid to have a good boat and not sail it any chance you get.
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post #25 of 161 Old 06-28-2013
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Re: Downside of living aboard

Originally Posted by shadowraiths View Post
I would not be so quick to engage in this sort of sweeping generalization. Sure, there are those who think moving aboard will solve their problems. And agreed, such prospects is unlikely. After all, no matter where you go, there you are. Otoh, imho, there are those who are attracted to the life, for whatever reason, and get aboard, and realize it's not what they expected, so they move back to land. I do not see the latter as failures.
You say tomato, I say tomato

If you are attracted to the life, try it and decide you don't like it; you failed to foresee the problems. Failure. Oh my god, FAILURE! kill yourself, you failed! Or is failure no longer accepted? Not PC to call it what it is. No more failing grades in school, everybody gets promoted.
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post #26 of 161 Old 06-28-2013
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Re: Downside of living aboard

Originally Posted by DougSabbag View Post

Again, the bigger the boat the better the liveaboard experience is.
I think that the size of the boat, like most everything aboard, is a compromise. Sure, there's comfort with bigger size, but there's also a loss of access (fixed bridge clearance, protected anchorages, maneuverability, simplicity ...)

In our twenties we lived aboard a 30' boat that had headroom five inches less than my height,- I didn't suffer.
In our thirties we lived aboard a 33' boat with two children up to ages 7 & 9 in, pretty much, one cabin,- I didn't suffer.
In our forties we lived aboard a 41' boat with teenagers sharing the aft cabin.- I didn't suffer.
In our fifties our children moved away and we shopped for a smaller boat, but we could not find anything better that what we had paid off, -no suffering!
In our sixties we kept the same boat that I know well and we've replaced the engine, sails, rigging, electronics,- we're doing well.
In our seventies we will likely still be cruising, but if physical conditions move us off the boat, and that will happen eventually, we'll be doing well.
I have a 22 year old nephew who is living on a 22' Catilaina,- he's not suffering!

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post #27 of 161 Old 06-28-2013
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Re: Downside of living aboard

My 2 cents after living aboard in the northeast for exactly 1 year.

First, it is cheaper than owning a house which also requires plenty of work and money to maintain. Second, at least around here it is cheaper than renting a decent apartment. Southern CT is one of those above the average cost of living areas.

I bought a roomy, older boat (1976, 41' Tartan TOCK) that had a lot of work done to it and still needs more. Yes you need insurance and surveys. I had to replace my fuel tank last fall and then get it surveyed for insurance but I knew about that going in. There is electrical work to be done... I have a short in my interior lights that is eluding me. You definitely need to be willing to learn your boats systems and be self sufficient and able to fix things. To me that is a big part of being a sailor, or a boater. The bigger the boat the more systems and the more complex they will be so bear that in mind. The older the boat the more those systems will break down. Bear that in mind.

Winter is hard. Especially last winter.

I try to keep my boat ready to sail. I can be stowed and ready to cast off in a half hour but after a fall and winter of the boat being a floating condo it took me a good 2 days this spring to get her to that point.

I moved aboard after my divorce and bought the boat for that purpose. It was a dream of mine when I was younger and seemed to make some financial sense. I have an older Pearson 30 that is for sale and I never really considered her as a live aboard.

I am comfortable and gaining confidence as a liveaboard heading into year 2.
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post #28 of 161 Old 06-28-2013
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Re: Downside of living aboard

This is my 11th year as a cruising liveaboard, 7 years in my 40s and now retired aboard in my 60s. In this time I have seen a few for whom the dream has turned sour. here are some of the reasons I have been given or observed or guessed at.

1 They get a fright, either a bad passage or just a realisation that away from home and out cruising they have to rely on themselves. I always remember the total disbelief in the voice of someone calling for help on the VHF when they found there was no towing service and worse still the coastguard boat was either broken or perhaps just out of fuel.

1 a This is related to the above and can be best seen in places like Portugal or Panama, people coast hop to there and bottle out when faced with the big one. You can find some real cruising bargains there.

2 They get bored, the most extreme example I remember was a couple on a beautiful old woody which they had spent a couple of years restoring. They were 24 hours out of Florida crossing the Bahama Banks when they realised they just could not cope with the speed, well lack of. We had talked briefly in No Name as we waited for a weather window and they had passed my 4 knsb with ease. I spotted them heading west instead east and gave them a call in case they had a major issue. Nope they said just bored out of their brains counting starfish and were heading back to sell the boat.

3 They get fed up fixing the boat or waiting for people to fix the boat for them. This tends to be people with complex systems in bigger boats. 50 footers plus esp.

4 RUM ! It is pretty social out here although it seems to be less of a problem than it was. I always giggle when I remember the Marsh harbour morning net announcing three different AA meetings each interspersed with a bar offering a happy hour.

In my own case one of the reasons I wanted to get back to the real world was longing to go to the same supermarket each week knowing that I would have everything I needed there. Instead of trailing from shop to shop in the hope that someone would have soy sauce or a lettuce.
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post #29 of 161 Old 06-28-2013
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Re: Downside of living aboard

I don't know, Doug. Plenty of people buy houses and then pay someone else to paint. mow the lawn every week, fix the plumbing...these same people can buy a boat and maintain it the same way. Lottery win not needed.
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post #30 of 161 Old 06-28-2013
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Re: Downside of living aboard

4 RUM ! It is pretty social out here...
But why is the rum gone?
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